Thursday, March 27, 2014

An interesting read....

My sister Angela sent me this link to an interesting read that I thought I'd share with you.

Apart from knowing myself that my creative time is positively ESSENTIAL to my physical and mental well-being, the article is particularly pertinent as I am currently reading ''The Fibromyalgia Solution'
by Dr David Dryland, in an effort to understand and fight the condition myself. His theory is based around the fight or flight response which is on overdrive in people suffering from Fibromyalgia. This response totally depletes the body's dopamine levels.

I completely recognise this in myself.  But perhaps the article articulates why, in our busy lives with sensory overload, the "craft movement", and return to skills that modernisation rejected for a time, is experiencing a renaissance?  It talks about "flow", which many of us identify or call  ''the zone''.  I enter another world/level whilst I'm creating and come back to the daily world much calmer, happier and able to cope with what it throws at me, (translated to a much more fun person to be around).

I'm still puzzled by my forgetfulness/dementia/foggy brain though!!

Enjoy :)

another block for my slowing emerging 9 patch quilt.  Block number 26 I think.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Strippy Liberty quilt finish

Quilt No 13!  Finito!  My Liberty Strippy quilt is done.  I finished binding it last night.
The top is all strips of Liberty Tana Lawn in varying shades of blue.  I think I will call it my Blue Lagoon quilt.  I do rather want to dive in it or under it and float around daydreaming with it.  It is divinely soft and has a lovely drape.  I think that's the combination of the tana lawn, and the hand quilting which I've kept to a minimum of just one row of stitching per row of fabric. I thought about quilting it more, but it didn't need it as it sticks well to the wadding, and I want the fabrics to speak for themselves - they have such a lot to say, can't you just hear them from where you are?  
I can't believe in my 35-40 years of collecting and loving Liberty, this is my first all Liberty quilt!  That's it now though...the lid is well and truly off my stash box and my mind is whizzing with ideas for more Liberty quilts.  Often, I've included bits of Liberty tana lawn in my quilts, but I've never devoted a whole quilt to Liberty...well I've broken through that little barrier, and the stand off is OVER.   

the binding

The rest of my weekend was lovely.  I saw a great film at Somerville - "Short Term 12". It's an American film about a home for children awaiting foster care or unable to live at home.  Some people do such good work in their lives - they give so much to those in need.  Watching the film, made me think about that.  I am in total admiration for people that have the capacity to work with fragile beings and work to empower them when they have suffered so much. Carers are incredible.

I had a lovely catch up with a few girlfriends for lunch on Saturday.  Lots of laughs. And yesterday a friend and I went to Homecraft Textiles as they have a gigantic sale on for the month of March.  I picked up the backing fabric for another quilt.  I've blogged about this shop before - you enter another world when you step inside.  You could be in Turkey, or a souk or market in some faraway dreamy place.  I love it. They are stocking a lot more 100% cottons - the minimum cut is 1 metre though, but for the month of March, they are 1/2 price at $7.50 per metre!!

And I started my next book for book club...'the autobiographical "The Happiest Refugee" by Anh Do. Very easy read by the looks of it.  More about that when I've read more.

Happy Monday to you all! :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's done!

Quilt No 12 is done! I'm so happy with it and that's exactly what it is....a happy quilt!  And I think my smallest yet.  And my first quilt finish for 2014.  I just realised that I only fully finished one quilt in 2013.  I was busy piecing a few and completed several tops - but they remain unfinished - so that is going to change and there will be a positive flurry of finishing happening.  Just watch!  Last night I started hand stitching the binding on my Liberty Strips quilt.  It's my symphony in blue.  I can hear music as I stitch. :)

Strange I know - talking on which I have had THE most interesting dreams lately. 

In the first I was in Italy, driving the Amalfi coast in a little beachy jeep thing.  Admiring the colour of the ocean and totally awed by the view.  It was stunning and the sun was shining and glistening and twinkling on the clear azure water.  There were dolphins playing in the waves, frolicking and jumping.  The beachgoers were totally spellbound  by their performance, as were we. Then we drove on and I saw what I thought  was the biggest dolphin EVER, only to realise to my absolute HORROR it was a great white shark eyeing off the swimmers.  I could clearly see what was about to happen and was powerless to stop it.  I did try.  I screamed and shouted and waved, conscious that I had no Italian language skills and what was the word for shark?!!!  At first people just waved back, but then realised that this crazy woman was trying to tell them something and they needed to respond a certain way.  I tried humming the music from Jaws, and trying to make the shape of a fin.  All this from my cliff top overlooking the beach. Slowly it caught on and they started getting out of the water, even the very hairy chested Italian closest to the shark, made it to the shore alive.

The shark was NOT happy with me, spoiling his fun and clocked me with a look that said "if you ever, ever get in the water, anywhere in the world, I will find you and ruin your fun".  Although if looks could kill I'd have been a goner right there and then.

Now I've not been to that part of Italy and I'm pretty sure Great White Sharks don't inhabit those waters.

The second dream was much tamer.  I had a surprise package arrive on my doorstep.  I opened the door to find a kayak wrapped in airbag packaging sitting out the front of my house.  I didn't have to unwrap it - I could tell from its shape.  That's all I remember of that dream. 

On that note, bye for now xo

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Year in Books

I have joined up to The Year in Books.  I stumbled over it via Millefeuilles

I'm in a book club, but I'm always looking out for more books to read, and to diversify my reading.  I am only too conscious of how my little world is only a micro dot in the greater world, and I yearn for knowledge of the greater world, new surroundings and to open my mind to all the different lifestyles and worlds out ''there''.  I worry that in my comfortable western life, I will become too narrow in my thinking.  My upbringing was conservative, middle class (I am totally blessed for this and so thankful for it - please don't think for a minute I'm disappointed by it). I lead a comfortable life is suburban Perth, a very isolated city.  It's not easy to leave Perth and experience lots of varied cultures. Everywhere is a flight of several hours away and with only 4 weeks leave a year, not readily accessible, so I fuel my senses by reading.  It's the only way of immersing myself in other's stories and lives in my day-to-day world.

So I'm excited to hear of lots more books, that I may not ordinarily stumble across and add to my reading list.  Thank you!

Here's what I'm currently reading and enjoying. 

It is perhaps particularly relevant as we read of the theories currently surrounding the missing Malaysian airline.

and here's what I've been doing in my craft world this weekend

putting the binding on my retro squares quilt.  I'm nearly done.  It will be my first FINISHED quilt this year.  Hooray!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hand quilting

I got busy hand quilting last night.  The time flew by and I had to tell myself to go to bed as I could have spent the whole night stitching away.  It is pure heaven.  It's so rhythmic and rewarding.  I woke early, such is my level of excitement, and quickly got in another half hour before work.  Bliss I tell you, sitting stitching and sipping my morning cuppa.

I've put a row of stitching in half the quilt. I'm using 5 different Perle 8 thread colours.  I'm stitching each strip of fabric once, then I'm going to review and decide whether to put in more rows of stitching.  I've tacked the layers together, which I'm finding easier than negotiating pins, but a bit more time consuming in the preparation-to-quilt stage.  I've had abandoned the hoop and I'm not missing it one little bit.  I found it to awkward and cumbersome and moving it all the time, well hats off to those of you that have that patience!  It sure ain't me!  Partly because so far I've used fairly big stitches and I like to just get on with a whole row.  I'm too clumsy with the hoop and don't get any rhythm up.  I like rhythm.  My hand quilting feels absolutely melodic in a very organic kind of way.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What a gorgeous weather-wise weekend we had here in Perth.  Temps under 30 both days.  It was lovely to open the house up and let the sunshine and fresh air pour in, rather than closed up with the air-con on and avoiding the boiling sun at all costs.
I had a quiet weekend, mostly spent at home mooching doing loads of washing.  My daughters cleaned there rooms and the floor-drobe contents made its way to the washing basket.  I know, I am such a nice mother, still doing their washing!
I had time to get my Liberty Strippy Quilt ready for pinning and hand-quilting.  I'm just planning on straight rows of stitches in various shades of blue thread. 
Here it is ready for pinning, which I later achieved. I'm tacking it as well.
Tilly was yet again my helper. Following me around, sitting patiently while I hung out washing. Jumping on the vacuum cleaner, licking the dishes in the dishwasher - the dirty, tasty ones, nudging for pats, when they weren't forthcoming in the required time frame.  Yesterday she did some sunbathing in the spot of sunshine in the lounge room.
The weather felt more Spring-like than Autumn-Like.  I moved some furniture around and put the old smelly blue sofa out on the verge and put the white sofa bed in  its place and draped it in my aquablue quilt.  It looks soooooooooooo much better.  You can lie on this one - finally a sofa we can lie on- and I did just that for an hour reading my book club book which is great.  I finished another book on Saturday night - my first David Baldacci - Zero Day.  It was as if I was watching a CSI episode without the ads.

What else?  Friday night I went to see Pam Ann - a comedienne.  Quite funny in places - good for a giggle.  And Sunday a quick cuppa up the road at my besties.  All in all very nice.

I hope you had lovely weekends too!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Hand quilted Retro Vintage Square Quilt

Hand quilting all done....I just need to do the binding.... I have to say, I absolutely love the feel and look of the hand quilting, and I think I'm a convert from machine quilted tops.  Having thought myself a "topper" only of quilts - you putting the top together, but my mind too full of other quilt ideas to take the time to hand quilt, so I've outsourced the quilting part, so that I can get on with the next top.  Not sure I'll be treading that path any longer.  I have 2 other finished quilts sitting waiting to be quilted and they will both by hand quilted - my Liberty strip quilt and my Babushka quilt.  Then there's the nearly finished hand pieced hexie quilt, oops and I forgot my Jane Brocket Hammock quilt, which I will hand quilt now as well. 

My stitching is very very rough, but I love it and think it suits the quilt down to the ground. I used a thick quilting thread in a red and stitched every second square.  I'm pretty chuffed with myself in case you can't tell :)

Last weekend I did a little bit of painting in the ensuite

with a little bit of help....